University of Oregon researchers studying mosquitoes have produced the first chromosomal map that shows regions of chromosomes that activate – and are apparently evolving – in animals in response to climate change.
The map will allow researchers to narrow their focus to identify specific genes that control the seasonal development of animals. Such information will help predict which animals may survive in changing climates and identify which disease-carrying vectors may move northward, allowing for the production of appropriate vaccines, said William E. Bradshaw and Christina M. Holzapfel, researchers in the department of biology and members of the UO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
"For the first time, we are moving down the track to identify genes that animals use to control their seasonal development," Bradshaw said. "Response to day length is often the primary cue that organisms use for going dormant, and although human beings are not as strongly seasonal as other animals, there are nonetheless seasonal components to our health and welfare just as there are in plants and animals."
The chromosomal map for the mosquito Wyeomyia smithii, which develop within the carnivorous leaves of pitcher plants, appears online ahead of publication in the May issue of the journal Genetics. The UO researchers identified regions on three chromosomes that respond to length of day, which scientists call photoperiodism. Two of the chromosomes also have overlapping gene expression that tells the species to go dormant, which they must do to survive.
"This chromosomal map is drawing a lot of interest in terms of understanding the genetic response of animals to rapid climate change and also to understanding the metabolic processes involved in disease intervention in humans and other complex organisms," Holzapfel said.
Bradshaw and Holzapfel first showed that the mosquito has changed genetically in response to recent, rapid climate change and now uses shorter, more southern day lengths to initiate dormancy in a landmark study that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Dec. 4, 2001).
The new study – funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health – doesn’t tell exactly which genes drive the mosquito’s response, "but it does tell us in what parts of the genome we must look to identify the mechanism of photoperiodism," Bradshaw said. Collaborative studies already are underway to determine the same genes in stickleback fish at the UO and in fruit flies at the University of Pennsylvania.
"The response to climate warming in animal populations has penetrated to the level of the gene," Bradshaw said. "It affects development, reproduction and dormancy, and this response is occurring in diverse groups of animals from insects to birds and mammals."
The chromosomal map was created using mosquitoes that had developed in precisely controlled environmental rooms that allow the UO researchers to simulate climatic conditions occurring in nature anywhere in the world, from the tropics to the polar regions.
The newly created map contains 900 million DNA base pairs. There are three billion base pairs in humans. As various genome maps are being completed, scientists now face the task of determining how genes interact and how they produce specific phenotypes (observable traits), which include photoperiodic response and dormancy.
"Climate changes already are extending the growing seasons," Holzapfel said. "We know that portions of the country are becoming warmer and dryer than others. Plants and animals are not confronting this stress directly, but rather they are flowering, reproducing and going dormant at different times of the year than they used to. Many species will be unable to change quickly enough and will become extinct."
"Climate change will change the seasonal ecology of many animals," Bradshaw said. "Rather than having a bully coming to beat you up at recess everyday, you can take a body-building course and beat up the bully, or you simply can take recess at a different time. Many organisms are taking the latter course, using day length to guide them."
Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision
23.09.2016 | Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland)
Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target
23.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.
Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...
At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.
In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...
Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.
K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...
23.09.2016 | Event News
20.09.2016 | Event News
16.09.2016 | Event News
23.09.2016 | Life Sciences
23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine
23.09.2016 | Life Sciences